..... Enjoying life, one bite and plane ride at a time

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Innisfree - on the road with me

As someone who is always on the go I need my skincare to work hard for me.
I won't lie... I hardly ever sleep 8 hours a night and with my wedding creeping closer this just means my skincare routine need to be on point... even when I am away from home. I will introduce a couple of items that I always take on my trip with me that are not my core skincare routine. 

One of the things I have adapted to over the years is K-beauty. So on my first trip to Seoul 8 years ago I discovered sheet mask and Innisfree. Their My Real Squeeze range is my usual "go to" as it is quite inexpensive and has a huge selection of scents. As I am always on the plane, I usually pack one into my handbag with a sheet make up remover before I board my journey home. This helps give my skin that boost of moisture that the recirculated aeroplane air tends to take away. This doesn't irritate my sensitive skin and I love how hydrating it is. The refreshing scent is obviously a bonus too. Tip: In summer I like to refrigerate these and put them on cold before bed.
My favourite scents are green tea, honey, aloe vera and ginseng. I do use this as part of my normal routine too but at home I tend to mix it up a bit where I will also use a sleeping mask or collagen skin clinic mask.

From having a hectic lifestyle, I need to take care of my body too. This means I work out A LOT, I mean 5 - 6 days a week. With all the weight training I do, it tends to take a toll on my hands. So I like to carry around a hand cream with me. On my last trip to Seoul I discovered the Jeju life handcreams. They come in cute small tubes which are perfect handbag size. This little pocket rocket is a rich velvety hand cream that doesn't leave the hand feeling sticky, it absorbs fast and locks in the moisture. I like to use it after I have washed my hands and in the past month of use I have notice a difference as my hands look more youthful despite the harsh cold weather I am in. There is 12 scents in the form of different months. My go to scent is February (tangerine farm) and December (citrus tea). However I can foresee myself getting a bit out of control with these on my next Innisfree shop up.

My nightly routine is a bit more comprehensive with 8-12 steps but I will save that for another time.

If you are wondering where you can get the 2 things above, well lucky for us Innisfree has opened up in Australia but if you can't get to a store, their website ships to Australia. They normally have a different promotions every few weeks. The Innisfreeworld website is easy to navigate and you will easily fill you your shopping cart with all the goodies they have to offer. Don't say you weren't warned!


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lune Lab experience

If you live in Melbourne and you haven't heard of Lune... then you must be living under a rock. Being crowned the best croissants in Melbourne (or dare I say Australia ... or potentially even the world), it is place that foodies from all across the world go running to when in Melbourne.
For some die hard fans (such as myself) to be able to get my hands on Lune Lab tickets was a very sacred achievement.
With Lune Lab, it is a 3 course degustation. The first course is always the same, it is a classic croissant fresh out of the oven but the second and third course vary by the season.
The ticket price are steep and I wont deny it is a lot to pay for 3 croissants. However if you love (eating) croissants as much as I do, then you might want to hang in there and keep reading.

The first course 
First croissant is one that is 10 minutes out of the oven. Your host will give you a choice from a huge tray, if you like your croissants softer then you go for something in the middle of the tray or if you prefer it more crispy then the edge of the tray. I went with my trusty food buddy (my lifelong eating partner) and tried one of each. When you taste one after another then the differentiation is  there, however if you just taste one, then it is much harder to call out that difference. Either way you pick, you will still taste fresh out of the oven croissant is still warm and the layers of the pastry is defined and fluffy. This is what I would term buttery goodness.

The second course
Second course is the savory croissant. Fortunately for me, I visited during truffle season and had a lovely surprise awaiting me. The dish was Beef Bourguignon. This was a classic croissant served as a classic French dish. It came with a red wine jus, mash potato and generous shavings of truffle shaved in front of you. The croissant was baked perfectly and you cut through layers of pastry and paired with a perfectly cooked beef. The kale crisp adds that extra texture to balance off the dish. I am a tad sad that this was seasonal. As I finished my dish I was thinking to myself that I  am not sure when I will get another chance to taste this again (if only they offered seconds).

The final course
Final course was a Yuzu tart. This is the Lune version of a tart that is made from croissant pastry.
During the whole experience you will have bottomless coffees and hot chocolate. You can drink yourself silly, like my partner did and be very energetic for the rest of the day. The staff won't judge you and be very attentive to ensure all your coffees/hot chocolates arrive promptly.

Final words
I would highly recommend this experience and would go again. If you are questioning why would you pay $60+ for 3 croissants... well this is why
  • creativity and thought that has gone behind the process to deliver something exceptional on the plate
  • dedication and art of finessing the details of a perfectly crafted croissant
  • taste of something that you cannot easily get anywhere else
  • being able to taste croissants done in a very different way
  • being able to buy as many of the croissants as you like without having to line up
  • truely experience and taste the dedication that Kate Reid and her team has gone to, in order to perfect and elevate the humble croissant.
Oh also, I would recommend the first session over the second session. By the end of our session, some of the croissant varieties have sold out. If you don't want to miss out, best to wake up a bit earlier.
Lune Lab tickets need to be bought in advance and sell out very fast. So if you want to go, head to the Lune website and find the next lot of ticket release, set a reminder on your phone and just have super fast internet when the ticket release day comes. Good Luck!!
Additional rambling notes: I have been a loyal Lune fan (since the Elwood days). I honestly think it is the best croissant I have ever tasted in my travels. I set out on a food adventure on most my holidays and yet to find something that comes close to Lune. Would love to hear other people's Lune or general croissant experiences. 

Lune Croissanterie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sushi Dai

With each Tokyo trip, as you research you will see Tsujiri Fish market come up. This is where you wake up before sunset to see the fish actions (why bother right?). However there is also another treat at the market, besides the usual market stalls affairs there is also a place call Sushi Dai.

Sushi Dai (寿司大) is an establishment within the market that has cemented itself as a tourist destination. The reason? Well great fresh amazing nigiri at a very reasonable price.
To eat here people line up around 2 hours starting from about 3am (they open at 5am and close by 2pm). Are people crazy? Well yes, personally I have been here twice before and once to it's main competitor (Sushi Daiwa 寿司大和 next door). Personally I still consider one of the top 5 sushi places I have ever eaten at (including the Michelin ones).

What do you get?
For ¥4000 is the Omakase set (Chef's choice). You get 9 pieces of nigiri sushi selected by the chef and an additional piece of your choice. If you don't like eating raw fish there is also a cooked fish option (but honestly, why would you?)

My Omakase started with steamed egg roll and miso soup. 
The nigiri were as follows:
Fatty Toro
Flounder had a bit of line and salt
Japanese Horse Mackerel
Tokyo Bay Scallops
Cutlass - out of all the nigiri, I liked this one the least. 
Maki roll
Anago (Sea eel)
Round 2 fatty toro (you get to pick another piece of your choice, I went with more fatty toro)
Yellow tail (we paid extra and got a piece of the yellow tail as it was in season, it did not disappoint)

Overall, would I do it again? Well... this was my third visit.... The fish is great and fresh and for what you pay it's very good value. Could you get something just as good in a restaurant? Yes, but you will most likely be paying through your nose for it. The usual sushi trains which you will find across Tokyo, does not even compare to this. So I will leave the choice to you, if you decide to sacrifice sleep for Sushi Dai!

Words of Advice
If you happen to bother waking up before the crack of dawn here are some tips:
  • Stay around Ginza. The subways don't start till 5am so unless you want to pay for the expensive taxi fares in Tokyo, Ginza puts the fish market at a walking distance. Each time I visit I stayed at either one of the Mitsui hotels in Ginza.
  • Be prepared to wait. Bring a phone charger, you will be playing on your phone for a few hours. The wait at 4:10am on a Thursday morning was 47 people deep. Which translate to roughly eating 3 hours later.
  • Know your sushi manners, when you get in, there is only omakase. Just sit down and let the sushi chef do his thing. He will tell you when to use wasabi and soy sauce. Also, there is a massive line of people outside, so they would appreciate if you don't sit around just for a chat afterwards.
  • Bring cash, they don't take card. So don't be that person!
  • You sushi chef knows you have waited a long time to eat there and they appreciate it, they will ask you questions with their limited English, so don't be surprise when they interact with you.
  • There is other food to eat nearby, if you feel like you need more Jap food fix after your omakase, wander around the market and you shall be rewarded.
  • The sushi master does speak some basic English so don't worry about not knowing what to do and looking lost. They also offer you an English menu for the extra piece you want to order

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